Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Possibly Pointless Mini-Sulk

We watched Fanboys at the weekend; an enjoyable little film about a group of friends who set off on a road trip to steal a rough cut of the Phantom Menace some six months before it is due to come out (not knowing, of course, exactly how crap it is going to be). Hit and miss in places maybe, but there were enough geeky references to keep me happy and the beardy Hutch was entertaining enough on his own, as a sort of poor man’s Jack Black. I laughed a lot and even felt a little sad at the poignant ending.

There was one bit that did annoy me however, and it’s taken a couple of days to figure out why.

At one point their female geek friend has to rescue them from their own stupidity, and she comes into conflict with Windows, the bespectacled object of her affections. When she starts doing stuff he doesn’t understand, i.e. behaving like an emotional human being, he essentially tells her, “Look, you can’t pull this girl stuff and still want to be one of the boys”.

At first I thought I was annoyed at the character, and then I realised that was sort of the point. He was being a berk. And then I thought I was annoyed at the film, in a knee jerk reaction sort of way- “how dare you say I can’t be a girl and be friends with boys!”

But I think it was actually more complicated than that. What aggravated me, I believe, was the inference that by being a geek, she was attempting to be one of the boys.

Which is all wrong.

The majority of my friends are male, and all of them are geeks. I didn’t start reading 2000AD when I was kid so that one day, just maybe, I could hang out with blokes and know what they’re talking about. I don’t spend way too much time being Commander Shepard on the Xbox so that men will be impressed by my fairly amazing biotic slam, and I don’t know all the words to Ghostbusters because boys dig chicks that do (and I don’t think they do). I am a geek because that is what I enjoy, and I am friends with people who enjoy the same things- as it happens, most of them are male, but I’m sure this is just because I don’t know very many ladygeeks. And I know you’re out there, ladies!

Being a geek isn’t a “boy thing”. It’s a “people with intelligence and taste” thing. ;)


  1. Well, my Commander Shepard was way better with the pistol than biotic slams, but I do know all the words to Ghostbusters. You tell 'em.

  2. So say we all!

    Actually, my first Shepard was a Soldier and was pretty damn good with a pistol too...Ooo I do love that game.

  3. Paul James Nelson - The Nelsonator19 October 2010 at 20:34

    Well said Jen! x

  4. Yeah, what Caitrin said :).

  5. Right on! I know the lyrics to Fresh Prince and I rule at Quake, and although it's true (and odd) that these credentials have helped me pull in the past, I chose to marry someone who had never played Zelda before, and doesn't understand why I collect Explorer Gogos. xxx

  6. Matt hasn't played Zelda?! :o For shame ;p

  7. You're insane. The girl to male geek ratio is about 200:1

  8. have you been on the internet lately? We're everywhere ;p

  9. geeks rule and I thought it was obvious that some geeks are girls just like some geeks are boys.

    Well said.

  10. Speaking as another girl geek, it always pissed me off that I was marginalized as a girl when I just wanted to hang with fellow geeks. Being a geek has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with how your mind processes information (my theory), but then I love databases for their logic and my idol was Spock, so what can I say :).

  11. You've hit the nail on the head there. Althought I wouldn't class myself as a true geek, the same can be said for us perceived 'tom-boys'. I don't know about and play sports to impress boys, I just realised I was a) good at them and b) enjoyed them more than 'girl things'.

    I find it bemusing still that certain things are still segregated as 'boy things' or 'girl things'. My other half takes longer in the bathroom than me and spends more time on his hair - that doesn't make him 'one of the girls' but if I go out with male friends to the pub for a few pints and to watch the football I would be classed as 'one of the lads'.